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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) : PET-bottles

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Life cycle assessment.
  3. Goal definition.
  4. Inventory analysis.
  5. Impact analysis.
  6. Valuation.
  7. References.

A life cycle assessment is the investigation and valuation of the environmental impacts of a given product or service caused or necessitated by its existence. It is a variant of input-output analysis focusing on physical rather than monetary flows. The procedures of life cycle assessment (LCA) are part of the ISO 14000 environmental management standards: in ISO 14040:2006 and 14044:2006. The goal of LCA is to compare the full range of environmental damages assignable to products and services, so that we are able to choose the least burdensome solution. The term 'life cycle' refers to the notion that a fair, holistic assessment requires the assessment of raw material production, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal including all intervening transportation steps necessary or caused by the product's existence. The sum of all those steps is the life cycle of the product. The concept can also be used to optimize the environmental performance of a single product or to optimize the environmental performance of a company.

[...] The third phase, life cycle impact assessment is aimed at evaluating the contribution to impact categories such as global warming, acidification etc. Impact potentials are calculated based on the LCI results. The next steps are normalization and weighting, but these are both voluntary according the ISO standard. The phase stage 'interpretation' is the most important one. An analysis of major contributions, sensitivity analysis and uncertainty analysis leads to the conclusion whether the ambitions from the goal and scope can be met. [...]

[...] Indeed, the incineration of PET-bottles generates greenhouse gas emissions: these emissions are more or less compensated with the profit of the recycling according to the performances of the collection. 5. Valuation Advantages Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a chemical compound developed in the late 1970s that has revolutionized the plastic bottling industry. Polyethylene terephthalate or PET bottles offer significant advantages over bottles made of polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). For example, PET bottles can withstand eight atmospheres of pressure, which means that, unlike other plastic bottles, they can contain carbonated liquids. [...]

[...] Comparing the impact analysis of these two methods can be good to see which end of life cycle is the best about environmental impact: ImpactUnitReference100% Recycling100% CTBWaterL x 103-0,000821-0,001277,2 10-6Primary EnergyMJ-16,6-32,11,58 Renewable energyMJ-0,0194-0,04510,000449 Fossil energyMJ-16,3-31,81,58 Nuclear energyMJ-0,259-0,3420Greenhouse effectKg CO2-0,854-1,610,107Acidificationkg SO4-0,00582-0,01230,000904Photochemical pollutionkg C2H4-0,000323-0,0007980,000271Eutrophicationkg PO4-0,000485-0,0004850,000148WasteKg0,9040,2950,295 Table Comparison between recycling and CTB impacts on environment categories. So we can see with this table that the recycling of PET-bottles is better for the environment than the burying. Indeed, Recycling has a better a maximum substitute rate. [...]

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